How Australia will spend $1.4 billion for its new cyber security effort

The new CESAR programme funds a 500-strong cyber army to protect and response, as Australia faces escalating nation-state threats — but some question the government-first approach.

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Australia is shifting to a more aggressive cyber security stance, with Prime Minister Scott Morrison making the government’s largest-ever investment in cyber security in the form of a $1.4 billion package that includes measures explicitly designed to proactively target offshore cyber criminal actors.

The newly announced Cyber Enhanced Situational Awareness and Response (CESAR) package has been formulated “to boost protection and cyber resilience for all Australians, from individuals and small businesses through to the providers of critical services,” the government said in releasing details of its ten-year plan.

How the $1.4 billion in cyber security funds will be spent

The CESAR plan includes more than $31 million to help the Australian Signals Directorate (ASD)—the government’s military-intelligence and surveillance agency—“disrupt cyber crime offshore”, Morrison said, “taking the fight to foreign criminals that seek to target Australians” and supporting cyber crime efforts at all levels of government.

It will also spend $35 million developing a new threat-sharing platform—designed to facilitate the “near real time” sharing of information about emerging threats between industry and government.

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